Congratulations to CultureALL Board Member Renee Hardman! Renee will be presented with the Alpha Award of Merit at this year’s Black and Gold Scholarship Ball. The Ball, which is hosted by the Zeta Kappa Lambda Educational Foundation, is an annual event that recognizes recipients of the Foundation’s scholarships. The Alpha Award of Merit is given each year to a resident or company in Greater Des Moines for the positive impact of their contributions and service.
Renee grew up in Chicago and came to Des Moines in 1979 to attend Drake University. She worked her way through school, sometimes working three or fours jobs while earning a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). For more than 25 years, Renee has enjoyed a successful
career in Human Resources. As Senior Vice President of Human Resources and a member of the Executive Committee at Bankers Trust Company, she was responsible for strategic direction in the areas of employee engagement, diversity, compensation and benefits, talent acquisition, employee relations, and employee development for locations in Iowa, Arizona, South Dakota and Nebraska. After nearly 22 years at Bankers Trust, Renee was ready for new challenges. Three years ago, she started her own company – Hardman Consulting – to provide services in the area of employee development, diversity training and audits, workplace investigations, executive coaching, and leadership development.
“One of my favorite things about Des Moines is its openness. It is so easy to get involved with non-profits in the community.”
Renee has been volunteering her time and talent in the community for many years. “One of my favorite things about Des Moines is its openness,” she says. “It is so easy to get involved with non-profits in the community.” Her first volunteer experience was with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa. As the child of a single parent, Renee understood how important it was for young people to have a support system and encouragement in pursuing their dreams. She became a “Big Sister” to a young girl from Sierra Leone mentoring her all the way through high school graduation. Along the way, Renee says, she learned a lot about African culture and began to connect with her own African roots. Her friendships with her “Little Sister” and her family continues to this day – they celebrate birthdays and holidays and have traveled together. Renee also continued to volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters serving as a member of its Board of Directors.
Renee’s other community involvement includes Trustee for Des Moines University, Advisory Board member for the Governor and Billie D. Ray Center, ATHENA International (Board member), Dress for Success (Board member), and the Latino Leadership Initiative (Board Member). Additionally, she is a member of Des Moines Chapter of The Links, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is past President of the Chrysalis Foundation, President of the Board of Pyramid Theatre Company, and a 5th Judicial Nomination Commissioner– Governor Appointee.
Renee has a passion for diversity and inclusion. She has chaired the Governor’s Diversity Committee and was an active member of Drake University’s Diversity and the Downtown Partnership’s Diversity Committee. She joined CultureALL’s Board of Directors in January of 2017.
“Education is so important in helping people understand diverse cultures. We need programs like CultureALL’s – now more than ever – to help people move beyond bias and stereotypes towards acceptance, cooperation, and friendship.”
Renee first became aware of CultureALL through Bankers Trust’s sponsorship of the Zoom in on Culture program. She joined the Board because she believes in CultureALL’s mission which strongly reflects her own personal values. “Education is so important in helping people understand diverse cultures”, she says. “We need programs like CultureALL’s – now more than ever – to help people move beyond bias and stereotypes towards acceptance, cooperation, and friendship.”
One of Renee’s other passions is collecting elephants. She estimates she probably has at least 6,500 elephants – from stuffed animals to hand-carved figures she found on a recent trip to South Africa. She began collecting them, she says, because the elephant is a symbol of Delta Sigma Theta, her sorority. She was also drawn to them because they are strong, but they are also gentle and nurturing – they value their families. She is constantly adding new elephants to her collection but also enjoys giving them as gifts.
The Alpha Award is just one of Renee’s many honors. In 2014, she was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. Other awards include the Distinguished Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s Alumni Volunteer Award, Drake University’s National Alumni Award, Connie Wimer Spirit Award, President Obama’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major of Service Award, Des Moines University Glanton Scholarship Honoree, Women of Influence Award, Best Minority Business Leader Award, and YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award.
The Black and Gold Scholarship Ball will be held on February 18 at Prairie Meadows. For more information about the event – and the work of the Zeta Kappa Lambda Educational Foundation – please visit the ZKL website at http://www.zkl06.org.
CultureAll is so fortunate to have outstanding community members like Renee on our Board of Directors!